By Ada Adamczak
CHRISTMAS is a very special occasion for everyone, does not matter whether you are religious or not but it can be celebrated very differently in different countries.
UWSnewsroom takes a trip around the world to have a look at some festive traditions and celebrations:
Even though it is a Muslim country Hannah Delbridge and her family have no problems celebrating Christmas. There is no snow and not every house around in her neighbourhood is decorated, but she seems to feel that Christmas is coming.
She said: “Growing up in Saudi Arabia made Christmas a totally different holiday. It was more personal, in a way, because you didn’t have to battle it out at the shops with other people preparing for the holidays, you didn’t have to go on your annual rounds visiting the relatives you never usually see and who mostly forget you exist themselves.
“Decorations are something for the family to do, without it being spoiled by neighbours trying to one up each other with their own decorating.
“Since, in Arabia, Christmas is just a normal day, we got used to getting up at 2am in the morning to open presents with my dad before he went to work, or we’d invite very close friends over for dinner and it was little things like this that made Christmas so much better”
A for which Christmas is a normal day yet was able to make a special one, for little Hannah Delbridge: “Most people I know in Britain always look down on places like Saudi Arabia and its people for not celebrating Christmas, or act like it’s so shocking, but it was the people over there that specially stocked Christmas trees and decorations in their shops for us every year, they always smiled and welcomed us and for me, that is what the Christmas spirit is.”
Even though Sweden is not regarded as an especially religious country, Christmas is a major tradition and a day, to spend time with your family and close ones.
UWS student, Simon Erikkson, wakes up on December 24 to see his parents cooking and preparing dinner. The Christmas tree is decorated on December 23 and is lit on Christmas Eve.
Simon said: “Christmas is such a deeply rooted tradition in the Swedish society that it is still celebrated even though religion no longer plays a role in it for most Swedes.”
His parents are in the kitchen preparing the traditional pickled herring and Jansson’s Frestelse, while the children sit and wait for Christmas to happen and opening Christmas presents. In the evening families sit near the Christmas tree and eat the dinner.
And even though Swedish youngsters do not write a letter to Santa, Father Christmas still comes to houses to give the presents to the children.
Simon added: “After dinner, presents are opened. In families with small children, it is common for a person dressed up as Santa to hand out the presents.”
There is always someone from the neighbourhood to dress as Santa and act as the main gift giver and Christmas lasts for three days although Christmas Eve is the only day of celebration.
Christmas in Poland differs a lot from the one in United Kingdom and is closer to resembling a Swedish Christmas.
It is December 24, children normally wake up early with their parents and everyone has their chores set out before the day begins: parents take care of the cooking, while children dress the Christmas tree, which normally it takes quite a while.
The house also needs to be cleaned and while parents are still in the kitchen the youngsters clean the house and decorate it outside and inside: it does not have to be perfect, but nice enough for everyone’s eyes to shine.
The kitchen is the centre of Christmas Day preparations and there is a lot to do because parents need to cook for all three days.
The tradition of 12 dishes is well known in all the households: 12 dishes for 12 Apostles. What’s on the menu, differs, depending on the family but normally there will be fish, salads, soup, bread, a compote and pierogi.
Pierogi – Polish dumplings – is a dish that is made with a help of the children and is made by combining the pastry together to make sure that the filling does not spill out while cooking.
When everything is done the whole family decorates the table, while Christmas Carols play in the background, and when the first star shows up (which is a symbol of the star which led the Three Kings to the baby Jesus), people sit at the table, and before eating wish each other best wishes.
When a dinner is done, the children clean up and then, Santa’s little helper, The Elf comes and gives everyone their gifts.
At 12 at night some adults are going to church for the mass.
Even thou the Christmas Eve is finished the whole Christmas is still celebrated. He next two days are about visiting family, spending the time each other, and of course eating what has been cooked.
No matter where you are and how you celebrate the Christmas. As long as you are with your family spending a good time together, that is the main point.